Tilbury House Newcomer Workshop BPS Debating


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Tilbury House Newcomer Workshop BPS Debating

  1. 1. Tilbury House Newcomer Workshop Wintersemester 2013/14
  2. 2. Contents • Theory I: Argumentation • Theory II: The Debate • Theory III: Reocurring Principles in Debating • The Debating World
  3. 3. Theory I: Argumentation
  4. 4. Bad Arguments • A huge element of debating is spotting bad arguments and pointing them out to the judges! • Another big element of debating is avoiding making bad arguments! • Many people recognise that an argument is bad but have difficulty saying exactly why, so… • We’re going to look and think methodically about different types of bad arguments
  5. 5. Personal Attacks • e.g.: “That argument is wrong because Leonard made it, and he is a well known idiot!” • What’s wrong with that? – Debating is about persuasion through the exchange of ideas – Name-calling adds nothing to that  Actually lose you marks!
  6. 6. Authority • Arguing “So-and-So said it” or “The People think” therefore it is right! 1. It doesn’t matter who said it - judges want the reason behind it 2. In most debates you’re arguing about what people SHOULD think! • Can anyone think of any situation where this kind of argument might be ok? – To back-up an explained point – Where Public Opinion is VERY heavily entrenched
  7. 7. Analogy & Example • “We used sanctions on Iran so we should use them on Syria” • What is the problem with this kind of argument? – If there are differences between the two instances in an example or analogy • Examples and analogies can be good to back up an argument • Never use personal examples!
  8. 8. Assertion • Very simple: An argument without supporting logic or information is worthless • If your opponent asserts something, point it out!
  9. 9. Black & White Extremism • Other debaters will often try and force you into a tough choice! – e.g.: “If you don’t want to invade Iran then you have defend letting them have Nuclear Weapons”. – In most situations there will be a “Third Way” like constructive engagement or a preventative regime like sanctions - Think outside the box! • This can be a very clever and effective tactic to try and get people to argue a very difficult position - don’t fall for it AND watch out for opportunities to use it on weak teams
  10. 10. Caricature & Misrepresentation • Presenting a weaker picture of an opponent’s argument and then attacking it • Is that valuable? – No, and most adjudicators won’t miss it, BUT point it out anyway!
  11. 11. False Association • e.g.: “you are arguing X, Stalin supported X, therefore you are as bad as Stalin” • Why is this a bad argument? – It doesn’t explain the underlying reason why X is bad
  12. 12. False Causation • Often arises when statistics are used – e.g.: “sales of lemonade in the UK fell in the 1980s at the same time as crime rates soared therefore we would have compulsory lemonade to solve the crime wave” • What’s the problem here? – Obviously, no connection between the two occurrences has been shown; a relation is merely asserted…and we know about assertion!
  13. 13. Slippery Slope • Speakers often argue that X will lead to Y therefore we shouldn’t do X • This kind of argument can be ok IF….what? – IF… the progression from X to Y is clearly proven – But most people don’t do this, so point it out in your own speech!
  14. 14. Irrelevance & Misdirection • e.g.: in a debate about the death penalty: “proportionally more black men are hanged in the US than white men therefore we should abolish the death penalty because it is racist” • What’s the problem with this argument? – Like some of our earlier examples it implies a causal relationship where none exists – In addition, it identifies an incorrect problem, misdirecting the debate
  15. 15. Shifting Burdens • Sometimes a team will try and place a burden on you to argue something: “so the Opp needs to show why the State shouldn’t ban smoking!” • It’s perfectly reasonable to challenge the other side to try and disprove something that you’ve clearly proven…BUT… – Cunning teams will try and shift a burden without doing the initial roving themselves – This could sometimes be an effective tool for you but don’t let other teams away with it when they try it on you
  16. 16. Generalisation • e.g.: “X is a restriction on civil liberties by government and is therefore wrong because democratic governments shouldn’t do that” • What’s the problem here? – The argument should be made in it’s own right - similar to problems with analogies
  17. 17. Good Arguments • The first rule of making good arguments is “Don’t make Bad Arguments” • BUT … There are three other rules for making a good argument that are pretty essential and … they are pretty simple and easy to get right • If you want to make a good argument you’ll need to have these rules to the forefront of your mind
  18. 18. The 3 Rules for Good Arguments • Keep it SEXI • Ask why…again…and again…and again… • Always think about the case!
  19. 19. Keep it SEXI  Each point must be treated like a chapter of a book or a paragraph of an essay  S = State the Argument In one sentence tell the judges exactly what your point is!  EX = Explain the Argument Lead us through the logic of the argument in small simple steps  I = Illustrate your argument Give an Example, Analogy, or Fact to back-up your argument
  20. 20. Ask why again and again and again • Speakers often ask, what constitutes “sufficent explanation” – Think about what you intend to say: if you can legitimately ask “why?” then you probably need to explain more – Be careful though - sometimes you may need to answer one of your “why”s with a separate introductory point (independently flagged as part of your case)
  21. 21. Always think about the case • All cases work along a very simple model Now Harm Then Action Policy Effect • You should be able to finish every argument with sentence “… and this is why the motion stand (falls)”
  22. 22. Exercise • Take 10 minutes to write down one structured argument and present it This house would introduce student fees
  23. 23. Theory II: The Debate
  24. 24. Motion • Policy Motions: This house would ban smoking in public places. – You have to present a policy • Believe Motions: This house believes that parents should not tell their adopted children that they are adopted. – No real policy, but principal debate • Third Party Motions: This house, as a 18 year old high school graduate, would join the military. – Argue out of ones perspective
  25. 25. Motion • Consider every part of the motion – THB that the Noble Committee should deprive President Obama his Noble Peace Prize – Always ask yourself: WHY?
  26. 26. Prep Time • Work together with your team partner: you win as a team, you lose as a team • Possible Timetable (depending on position): – 1 min: Talk with your team partner: “What is the debate about” – 5 min: Brainstorming (Alone/Together) – 5 – 10 min: Discuss your Arguments Who is doing what Think about the other side Start with notes for your speech
  27. 27. Role Fulfillment First Half 1st Government Prime Minister Leader of Opposition Deputy Prime Minister Deputy Leader of Opp. 2nd Government Second Half 1st Opposition 2nd Opposition Member of Government Member of Opposition Government Whip Opposition Whip
  28. 28. Prime Minister • Defines the debate • Difficult: Lack of time, and all against you • What the Prime Minster should do (preferably in this order) 1. Status Quo: Problem, Harm (plus, definitions if necessary) 2. Your Goal: Better Status Quo 3. Measure 4. Mechanism 5. Main Arguments (1 – 2) • Not sure about the debate: Take more POIs to get more information about the debate
  29. 29. Prime Minister II • What the Prime Minster shouldn’t do: – Do not overcomplicate things – Do not narrow down your case – Squirrels: Take the obvious debate – Time/Place settings: Take the obvious – Do not hang your case: The central case should be in your speech
  30. 30. Opposition Leader • Should show that: – “That the Status Quo is good” – The Goal is bad – The Measure is wrong – The Mechanism leads to the opposite • Structure of your speech 1. Rebut the PM (Extensively, 1 – 2 min) 2. Outline your case 3. Present main arguments (1 – 2 Arguments, rest of your speech)
  31. 31. Deputy PM/OL • Deputy should: – Reinforce team line – Defend PM/OL – Rebut OL/PM/DPM – Develop further arguments • Structure of your speech – Rebuttal (1 min) – Arguments (1 – 2 Arguments; main part of your speech) – Summarize position shortly (1/2 – 1 min)
  32. 32. Extension Speaker • Have to move the debate forward • Coherent with 1st Gov./Opp. • Bring new material to the debate – Find new stakeholder – New Principals (Social, Political, Economical, Moral etc.) – Extension Animals • Mole: dig deeper • Eagle: overall idea • Stork: bring something new • Hippo: making things broader
  33. 33. Extension Speaker II • Structure of your speech – Rebut DPM/DOL and respond to first half (1 – 2 min) – Present extension (Differentiate team but support OG/OO) (3 – 4 min) • Government side: If first team screwed up – Elegant case drop or make more specific – Contradiction in first team: pick one • You want to debate on • Defend remotely
  34. 34. Whip Speaker • Provide a biased summary of the debate – Find the main clashes of the debate and show why your side won, especially the importance of your team: Identify the burden of proof • Different ways to structure your speech • No clashes? – Biased judge (as a lobbyist would do it) 1. What was the first half about 2. Why the other extension is wrong 3. Why your extension is right
  35. 35. Whip Speaker II • Important to remember: – Support your team partner – Do not bring new material – Rebuttal • Structure of your speech: – Rebut Opposition Extension/Government Whip (1 min) – Defend your extension speaker – Summarize the debate (main part)
  36. 36. Engagement • A debate is more then prep time, your speech and waiting for the call • Engagement with your opponents will make you more persuasive, and makes the debate more fun • How can I engage: – Rebut the other side – Offer and take POI’s – Be comparative
  37. 37. Rebuttal • Rebuttal is destructive material aimed at knocking down what the other side has said • You have to rebuttal the previous speaker – Best: At the beginning of your speech – Also possible during your speech (Clearly mark it!) • You do not have to rebut everything the previous speaker said, focus on the important points
  38. 38. Rebuttal II • Three ways to attack the opponent: – Attack the evidence • weak – Attack the analysis • Most common • Analysis illogical or wrong assumptions – Attack the principal (strongest) • Difficult, but the strongest • Insignificant / More important arguments
  39. 39. Point of Information • Taking – Only take it when you are ready to – Take one in a five minute speech – Never take a POI without responding to it – Do not take them if you feel unsure about your point – Be strategic – Take the stronger team • It is your speech, so use POI to show that you are confident in what your are saying
  40. 40. Point of Information II • Giving – Offer POIs regularly (both team members), but do not badger • Use: “On this Mam/Sir”, “Sir/Mam”, “Point” – Three kinds of POIs • Responsive: weaker • Constructive: Flag your own material • Misleading: Trick them into an answer they do not like
  41. 41. Be comparative • Include the other side’s position in your argumentation • Show the judge that your point is more relevant / stronger then the other side • Requires that you listen to the other side
  42. 42. Theory III: Reoccurring principles in debating
  43. 43. Foreign Policy Motions   Foreign Policy motions usually deal with interests and possible political actions of an actor, either a foreign actor or of a WLD towards a foreign actor Almost everytime these motions are closed or semi-closed and deal with a principle  The underlying principle usually deals with the conflict between principle or interest-led (realist) foreign policy  Two problems: a) You've got no idea b) the judge has got no idea
  44. 44. Foreign Policy Motions II   There will always be at least one foreign policy motion during a tournament. Prepare yourself! Knowledge is everything! Israel is a debater obsession. Examples:  THBT it should be the policy of the US to conduct all of its military interventions unilaterally  THBT it is in the west's interest for Assad to decisively win the Syrian Civil War.  THBT liberal democracies should cut all economic and military ties with the Kingdom of Saudi-Arabia
  45. 45. Privacy vs. Security • What is the responsibility of a democratically elected government? • Do NOT argue for absolute positions • You can only win a debate by showing where the line between the two principles should be drawn in the specific case of the motion • There are different degrees of infringements • What are the benefits of privacy in this specific case? • Individual preferences can change over time • Societal attitudes can change over time
  46. 46. Free Market vs. State Intervention • A free market is about individuals making decisions voluntarily – Why do individuals make decisions, that others believe to be problematic? – What immediate effect does the intervention have on the stakeholders? – How do the incentives for the stakeholders change? – What unintended consequences can follow? – Is the intervention justified, if you consider alternative ways to achieve the goal (e.g. regulation, education)? – Is the intervention proportionate, if you weigh harms and benefits?
  47. 47. Liberty vs. Paternalism • Are individuals always rational actors? – Whether you perceive a decision as right or wrong • depends on your perspective • changes over time • Does individual freedom include the right to make mistakes? – What is the harm of a mistake in the specific case of this debate? – What is the benefit of people making their own decisions in the specific case of the debate?
  48. 48. Liberty vs. Paternalism II • Is a paternalistic approach justified, if you consider alternative ways to achieve the goal (e.g. regulation, education)? • Is paternalism proportionate, if you weigh harms and benefits?
  49. 49. The Debating World
  50. 50. International Tournaments • International debating tournaments are held almost every weekend • Tilbury House sends teams to all major competitions throughout Europe • Tournaments are a great way – To improve your debating skills – To meet interesting people from all over Europe – To discover other University Towns in Europe • 50 € sponsorship for Tilbury House members
  51. 51. International Tournaments Tilbury House participations all over Europe
  52. 52. Typical Tournament • 7 min speeches • 5 preliminary rounds, break to semi-finals • team cap of 32 – 60 • costs are 30 - 50 euros per debater, • n-1 rule applies (number of institution teams – 1 = number of judges) • The fee includes food and accommodation
  53. 53. Exemplary Tournament Schedule Friday Saturday (Sunday) 17:00 Registration 10:00 Breakfast 18:00 Dinner 11:00 Third Round 10:00 Breakfast 11:00 Semi-finals 13:00 Lunch 14:00 Finals 19:00 First Round 21:00 Second Round 23:00 Social 13:00 Lunch 14:00 Fourth Round 16:00 Fifth Round 18:00 Semi-finals 19:00 Dinner 20:30 Finals 21:30 Social
  54. 54. Tournament impressions Vienna IV Impressions (http://vimeo.com/72209920)
  55. 55. Upcoming Tournaments January February • Zeit Debatte Dresden • LSE Open 10. – 12. Deutsch 35 € 44 Team • London IV 19. Novice 30 £ 40 Teams – 15. – 16. – 50 £ – 100 Teams • Leiden Open – 22. – 23. – 30 € – 68 Teams • Manchester IV – 22. – 23. • Budapest Open – 28. – 2. – 50 €
  56. 56. Tilbury House IV 2013 • Dec. 13th – Dec. 15th • How Can I Help? Get involved! – Runner – Guides – Registration – Wing Judges – Swing Teams – Catering – Organisation
  57. 57. How to inform yourself • idebate.org • achteminute.de (German) • europeandebating.blogspot.de (Tournaments) • economist.com
  58. 58. THANK YOU! ©Tilbury House Debating Society www.tilburyhouse.de www.facebook.com/tilburyhouse.debating twitter.com/tilbury_house